View Full Version : Patti's Max

10-07-2008, 01:15 PM
Patti and Max are known here as Woofwhisperer. Patti has posted once or twice I think but some of you have known her and her toy Poodle Max from the other forum for several years.

Max went into very bad congestive heart failure - right-sided - night before last. Yesterday she let him go.

Max... Max made Chris' diabetes look like the most boring by-the-book case you've ever seen. I still think the University of Georgia in Athens may wind up naming an endocrine disorder after him.

Max was small, around six or seven pounds, but he could throw ketones on a 1/4 unit of insulin and go hypoglycemic on 1/2 a unit. And "flat curve" was a totally foreign concept to that boy, even on that tiny dose of insulin.

Medically, he confounded everyone who ever worked with him, including very fine veterinarians at two teaching hospitals. He was also one of the first dogs to be monitored with a continuous glucose monitoring system.

I know a lot of people who have gone the extra mile and then some for their dogs.... no one did more or could have done more for Max than Patti did. Figuring out how to maintain his diabetes was such a huge challenge - I think he tried every insulin available... except R! ;) After all, NPH could drop him 300 points!

Max also had the sad distinction of being one of the dogs I know who went deaf about two years ago after being treated with gentamycin.

I would liked to have met Max. And I need to get a picture from Patti. I have seen great pictures of him and his stuffed toy... a monkey maybe? at UGA.

Godspeed to little Max and my deepest condolences to Patti and her parents, who all adored him.


10-07-2008, 01:34 PM
To Patti,
I followed some of your journey with Max and the constant challenges you both managed to get through. I am in awe of your commitment and love and am so sorry this last battle could not be one.
Godspeed Max
Jenny & Buddy

10-07-2008, 01:51 PM

Thanks for posting this. I remember Patti and Max from the other board and also from the cushing's board.

Patti, I am so very sorry to hear the sad news about Max. I wish there was something I could say to ease the pain and deep sense of loss you are feeling but know there isn't. Please know that you and your family are in my thoughts and prayers. My deepest sympathy to you and your parents.

Lynne and Lady

10-07-2008, 03:28 PM

I'm so sorry to hear that Max has made that journey to the Rainbow Bridge. He enjoyed his time here with the best mom around.

Bonnie and Crissy

10-07-2008, 04:00 PM
God Bless you Patti....Max will always be in your heart and you will always be in his...Find peace knowing that Max is now free of all the disease that you both so bravely battled, and that he plays healthy and happily with all our beloved babies who have also crossed the bridge....

Mickey and Dori

10-07-2008, 04:53 PM
I am really sorry about Max passing It sounds to me like he had a wonderful mom!! Godspeed Max!

We Hope
10-07-2008, 08:13 PM

You were blessed with Max and he was blessed to have you. No one could have done more for him than you did.

He's always with you--right there in your heart.


10-07-2008, 11:18 PM
I never knew Patti nor Max; I am too new here. But I am old, and old with dogs; have lost too many.

Patti - my deepest condolences to you. Obviously you are one of the finest DogMums ever! What an inspiration!

For you, Anodynes;


(Silly as those may seem; they work.)

Tue, 7 Oct 2008 22:18:16

10-08-2008, 12:48 PM
Dear Patti - I remember you and your Max from WAY BACK! He was the little toy poodle that gave you fits with his diabetes. :confused: What a lucky little guy he was to have such a caring mom - hugs to you and godspeed little guy - I am so sorry. Jody

10-09-2008, 06:24 AM
Oh Patti! I'm so sorry! We want to keep them with us always but it comes to the day when it's how much we love them that causes us to say good bye.

Max, I know you are running in the clouds and attracting the attention of a lot of girl dogs!!! You handsome devil!

You are in my thoughts and prayers.

10-09-2008, 11:05 AM

It was heartwarming to see your post regarding Max. Please accept my thanks to you, and to all who "knew" him as well as those who didn't, for caring enough to send kind thoughts and well-wishes to me and my family.

Max was indeed, and will always remain, the light of my life--not to mention my parents who met him in his later years as I retired from the military and relocated back to my hometown to be near them. He came into my arms as this little ball of fluff in Oct 1994 at the age of 8 weeks, traveled to Saudi Arabia with me (I had the Nevada State Veterinarian certify him as hunting dog--all 2-1/2 poodle pounds of him--in order obtain permission to bring him into the country) and was my constant companion for 14-years until 4:31 p.m. on October 6th of this year.

Like all furchildren who enter our lives, we cannot help but embrace them, admire their unique personalities, and stand stunned at how quickly they move from being "merely pets" to members of our family with souls that stitch themselves firmly into the fabric of our own. The onset of their illness, or illnesses, though at times extremely challenging and occasionally heartbreaking, serves to forge an even stronger bond between us—one I was blessed to have experienced and am awed by even to this day. Truthfully I never knew I could love so deeply...give so much...and endure such emptiness all in the "brief" span of time I knew him. It is, after all, really never long enough now is it?

Though Max taught me so very, very much and gave me so many days, weeks, hours and years of complete and utter joy I will always lament that I could not do more for him. As Natalie mentioned, his disease was extremely complex and always baffling to even the most specialized endocrinologists who undertook his case. Despite it all--the diabetes, the collapsing trachea, the atypical Cushing’s disease, and finally the undetected cardiac failure—Max’s body was somehow hardwired to compensate for these “little quirks.” Though it was never easy for me to accept that “this” was the best we could do. Yet to all who met him, his outward appearance belied just how very sick he truly was—he always had a quick smile, a kiss just waiting on his tongue to be given to someone’s hand or cheek, and an ever-present sparkle in his eye that said, "I'm here and ready to please."

As Natalie also mentioned, Max became deaf due to an allergic reaction to Momentamax, though thankfully his sight remained surprising clear despite the huge vascillations in blood sugar--stabilizing him was never in the cards dealt to him unfortunately. He was as we quickly learned early into his illness extremely sensitive to all meds: insulin, Trilostane for the atypical Cushing’s, antibiotics, etc…each had to be carefully dosed in tiny amounts or he’d have a highly adverse reaction. And yet with all these trials and tribulations, my little boy truly showed no signs of suffering other than a greater need to rest that I attributed to his advancing years, until the night before I was forced to let him go. Had it not been for that alarming bronchial wheezing noise he made late this past Sunday night, something I'd never heard before and appeared out of nowhere, I would have never guessed anything was wrong other than he did seem extremely tired the previous day and wanted only to nap with "grandpa."

It was that unique rasping/wheezing/coughing sound which spurred me on to take him into the vet the next afternoon (the earliest I could get him seen). Just that morning, he had rolled grabbed his stuffed monkey after his injection, something he always did, knowing that yummy food was on its way. Though admittedly he didn't eat with his normal gusto and seemed to have difficulty standing for very long afterwards. His second meal was a repeat of that morning (he was fed four times a day): he ate, but didn't dive into it with relish as was his trademark. And as we waited to go to our appointment, grandpa held him and spoke softly to him--my dad always believed that Max could hear him regardless--because he didn't appear to have the strength to support his own weight. All the while, I kept telling myself it was just an infection we were dealing with that was causing this abrupt 180-degree downhill turn. Surely, that was it…he was just fighting a bug that had zapped his energy, right? Absolutely I told myself.

Yet the short drive to the vet's was remarkable in how very, very quiet and still he was--Max in the last few years, as more and more trips were made to UGA, had become agitated by car rides despite our efforts to take him to "happy places" as well. He laid on my lap, the only time I had ever allowed him to be in the driver's seat, and seemed content to see the world pass by as he rested his head on my arm and peered out the window. Even once we entered the clinic doors, he never made a sound...laying on his pillow cradled in my arms with only a slight tremble passing through his body for merely a brief second before subsiding. I think at that moment I knew something was terribly, terribly wrong and I silently prayed as I stroked him gently for the strength to face whatever was yet to come.

The intake exam was uneventful...no temp, no coughing sounds, and urine showed high glucose but otherwise normal values. However once the doctor placed the stethoscope against his side and continued to listen and listen and listen as the minutes ticked by my heart began to sink. He then said he needed a chest x-ray and quickly rushed Max out the door. I sat in that little cubicle studying everything in sight—posters, bottles of medicated shampoo, vitamins, etc—trying to take my mind off of what they might be learning with him down the hall. Just when I finished reading the last article I’d found on heartworm disease prevention, one I'd seen a least a dozen times before, the doctor opened the door and asked me to follow him. We ended up in the x-ray room with radiographs of Max's chest clearly showing everyone that an enormous amount of fluid was saturating his lungs and stage 3-of-5 congestive heart failure: right chamber was nearly one and half times the size of the left. How could this be I kept thinking, he was fine two days ago? I was shell-shocked. The prognosis: one maybe two months at most was all we would have left and though medication could be given to ease his discomfort he would begin to suffer even more given the added stress on his heart from the uncontrolled diabetes, not to mention the trachea and atypical Cushing’s. All four doctors in the practice agreed that it was time to let him go, though they were more than happy to call UGA and let them know we were on our way if I wanted another opinion but that they would need to drain the fluid from his lungs first so that he could endure the 3-1/2 trip. At that moment, I honestly could not subject Max to any more...he had been through so much already...hanging on from that point forward would be more for my sake than his. Though God knows I selfishly wanted to hold onto him forever.

But it was as Natalie and I had discussed a long time ago…something we both prayed we would not be called upon to do…time for me to follow through on my promise to him—I would not allow him to suffer. So I turned to the doctors and said no more, I wanted him to find peace...but I made them promise me that he could be given a strong sedative first before the final injection...I needed to know he was as comfortable and as pain free as was humanly possible...when the "time" came. But first I needed a moment to myself and time to call my family before we proceeded forward.

I then asked the vet tech, Patty, who always showed such affection for him to hold him as I stepped outside the clinic back door so I could fall to pieces without Max being able to sense my distress. I then phoned my father and asked him to come say goodbye before Max was first given an intramuscular sedative--I wanted both of them to be fully aware of the other's presence and be able to share those last moments together. Once my dad arrived, we--the doctors, my father, Max and myself--all went into a dimly lit, quiet room. Max was placed on his pillow on top of the table, and we each spent a few moments stroking him and placing loving kisses on his face--which were received, as always, ten-fold in return.

Abruptly, the horrible coughing sound erupted again from Max as if to signal now was the time to go through the final paces of letting him go. My father, a seasoned military man and combat veteran, could not bring himself to remain in the room any longer. He swept Max up into his arms, hugged him tightly, then raised him up so he could look him straight in the eyes, and said "greet me when I get there buddy" before handing him gently back to me as he walked out the door. (He told me later, he felt as if he was either going to throw up or pass out as he could not stand to see Max leave.)

Though the sedative was painful for Max and he yipped his discontentment--Max never could stand shots of any kind administered by anyone other than my father or myself--he promptly fell into a deep pre-operative slumber. I was thankful for that, as the last needle and the volume of fluid which had to be given to end his life was huge compared to the size of his tiny, tiny leg where a vein would have to be found. He never so much as twitched as it was administered...yet to the day I die I'll swear I knew the very second his soul left his body even though it all happened within the blink of an eye. Honestly, it was so fast I had doubted myself and asked twice whether or not it was over because it all seemed so surreal.

As the words "yes, he’s gone" sunk in, and my mind grasped the reality of it all, I began to weep a tidal wave of such tears as I have never ever known before. Though my heart broke, and my head ached, I couldn't bring myself to leave him quite yet, so I rested my cheek on his side until I had nothing left it seemed within me to give and all that remained was the void of numbness. I guess I needed to feel the warmth of his body staving off the coldness that threatened to overtake my soul. You see? Even at the end, Max always knew how to find a way to comfort me.

To be honest, I barely remember saying, "Yes, I'd like him cremated with his pillow," thanking the staff for all they'd done for Max, driving home, or the calls I made or the emails I sent out afterwards...I was simply working/functioning on autopilot from the moment he left me. Three days later, I'm still there...going through the motions of life for the most part--packing up his toys, parceling out his diabetes supplies to give to others--and all the while wondering what I ever did before I met him because I can't begin to fully fathom the depths of loneliness I feel without him in my life.

And in the wee hours of the night, when I can't sleep, which I find is more often than not without him in the bed beside me, this one question keeps popping into my mind over and over: would I make this journey with him all over again if I could--from beginning, middle, and up until the very end--knowing all it would entail having a Maximillion's Shooting Star in my life? You betcha buddy. Despite everything--the shots, the four meals a day, the multiple meds, the long arduous trips to Athens, the sleepless nights, the curving trying to make rhyme or reason out of the insanity of his diseases--I'd go through it all again in a heartbeat just to experience every moment I was privileged enough to have spent with him.

So in those moments of frustration you might at times find yourself facing as you deal with all that is this whole thing known as diabetes: when curves don't make sense, you can’t get them to eat, they beg for what food they can’t have or are feeling not quite with it...when the bills are mounting and another bottle of insulin, box of needles, or test strips needs to be purchased...or when all things seem to point to the futility of it all...have faith, it's truly worth it. If Max could have survived for 3-years, and be as happy as he was despite the mountain of obstacles he faced, know that there is always a rainbow of sunshine trying to peak out through the torrential rain. For me that rainbow is/was Max. Your rainbow is in the eyes of the furbaby staring up at you now and you my friends are blessed to not only be able to see it but capture and hold it within your arms. Please reach down and do so!

Thank you for letting me share my moment of grief with you and God bless you all for doing what you do.



10-09-2008, 11:15 AM
Lord that was a sweet post Patti... must go dry my eyes. Natalie

Cara's Mom
10-09-2008, 12:51 PM
Dear Patti
I never had the privilege to "meet" you or Max. However, after reading your last post, you and Max came fully alive in my mind's eye! What a beautiful bond there was between the two of you! How he loved and trusted you! Those memories will stay forever! Take strength from them, Max would have wanted that.
Our thoughts are with you.

God's speed, little man!

10-09-2008, 06:20 PM
Patti... God Bless and Hold you and Max..........

10-10-2008, 05:40 AM
Patti, I didn't get to "meet" Max, but I know he was a most beloved soul. Please know that I am thinking of you, and your Dad, and I know that the reunion will be wondrous.

Love and hugs, Teresa

10-12-2008, 12:03 AM
Patti, words can't express, our poor doggies with diabetes and cushings and other diseases somehow become so special, they are part of our soul, I know Niki can read me more than any other dog I've had sounds crazy but its like we are one.

Maybe Max is playing with my Chief up at the bridge.

You take care